In the 12 days since the start of the legal tampering period, the Chargers have gone out and made four signings, each at a different position of need. They went and got a right tackle which was HUGE move for this team. That right side of the line is looking so, so much better.
The infusion of proven size and run-stopping ability along the interior of the defense with Linval Joseph was another move by the Chargers to finally try and fix a leaky run defense that’s gone unattended for far too long.
Linval Joseph is one of those players that will always be underrated to me. His value and role is rarely appreciated. Finished 2nd among DTs in tackles last season (68). pic.twitter.com/v86iY1GLSl— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) May 9, 2018
The addition of Chris Harris in the secondary could wind-up paying huge dividends should everyone in the secondary stay relatively healthy but that move seemed more like a luxury signing as opposed to a direct need being filled. The Chargers, after tendering Mike Davis, probably believe he can be a serviceable outside corner opposite Hayward. So, to me, it looks like they just went and got the best corner available in their eyes. It also doesn’t hurt that he has played for a divisional rival for the better part of a decade and will likely provide valuable intel prior to their match-ups this season.
The fourth and final signing of former Bengals linebacker Nick Vigil helped gain back some depth at the position after the Chargers released Thomas Davis and let Jatavis Brown and Nick Dzubnar walk in free agency. Vigil was the starting SAM linebacker for the Bengals in 2019 while playing in a rotation at the spot the prior two years. However, Vigil actually looks to fit the Chargers’ mold at the WILL which was supported in my conversation with Joe Goodberry of The Athletic Cincinnati. Goodberry specifically said that Vigil would thrive as the team’s weakside linebacker where he can utilize his athleticism and chase down runs from the backside. Vigil was also the Bengals’ best coverage linebacker and I think that’s the aspect of his game that really sold the Chargers on him.
So where does the team stand now? Prior to the Vigil signing, the Chargers had around $8.5 million in cap space left and i’d knock maybe $3-4 million off that number just to be on the safe side. Pro Football Focus believes the Chargers’ biggest need at this point is a left tackle, which I think we all can agree with. Per PFF, the Bolts haven’t had a team pass-blocking grade ranked higher than 26th in the league since the 2014 season. It’s been five years of basement-level play from the front five and it’s high-time they put their money where it’s needed most.
The Chargers can easily go QB at #6, but could also dedicate that pick to a cornerstone piece at offensive tackle. The signing of Harris and Joseph likely means there isn’t a chance of a dark-horse selection in the first either, like a Jeff Okudah or Derrick Brown.
PFF goes on to list off-ball linebacker and defensive tackle as the next two on the priority list. The article was written prior to signing Vigil but I actually don’t think that changes their need for more depth, especially when it comes to getting guys in the building who offer special teams upside. Lastly, the Chargers still need to find some speed to pair with two possession guys in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams. To name one, I like Devin Duvernay out of Texas. He ran a sub-4.4 at the combine and has a similar skill-set to the 49ers’ Deebo Samuel.